Archive for the ‘ ~2 to 3 Miles~ ’ Category

Ash Swamp – Cumberland

  • Ash Swamp
  • Nate Whipple Highway, Cumberland, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°58’57.94″N, 71°25’32.16″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 4, 2022
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Moderate due to lack of blazes and mapping, Some Elevation.

In the thickly wooded area behind the North Cumberland Middle School are a series of trails that meander across lesser known town owned land. Some of these trails are used by the schools cross country team and the remainder reach to Tower Hill Road. For this hike, I ventured into the woods with a map from “OpenStreetMaps” with the intention of finding and completing the two loops in the middle of the property. The first challenge was getting to the trail head. Passing through the main parking area for the school, drive behind the school to a smaller parking area at the back of the school. There is enough room for 2 or 3 cars here. From here follow the tree line around the bend and you will encounter a sign for the schools cross country program. This the trailhead! After entering the woods stay to the left. The trail to the right will lead you to Schofield Farm. In a little bit you will come to a four way intersection with some park benches. Turn right here. The trail winds northerly toward the first of the two loops. There will be a trail to the left just before a stream. Ignore it and continue ahead crossing the stream. Soon on the left you will get a glimpse of a boulder strewn landscape. At the next intersection stay to the right and you will cross a stream. A short distance ahead a trail comes in from the right. Ignore and stay on the main trail that veers to the left and starts a climb uphill. At the top of the hill the trail splits. Stay to the left and pass through the stone wall. The trail starts to turn to the left before straightening out. At the next split, stay to the left again. You will pass another stone wall before coming to the next trail intersection. Stay to the right here and continue ahead about sixty feet or so and there will be another intersection. Continue straight here and ahead to the next trail intersection. Ahead the trail is slightly overgrown. The main trail turns abruptly to the left. Follow the main trail as it starts a climb uphill. The trail turns to the right and levels out a bit, then turns left again and again uphill. There will be a trail to the left, ignore it and continue the climb uphill. At the top of the hill will be the next intersection. Turn left here and in about twenty feet or so will be another intersection, turn left once again. There will be a trail on the right, ignore it and continue ahead. You will now start a long descent downhill. Next, a trail comes in from the left, stay to the right and follow the main trail. And yet another trail to the right to ignore. Continue to follow the main trail downhill. At the end of the trail at the bottom of the hill turn right. Follow this trail about sixty feet to the next intersection. Turn right here and follow the main trail slightly uphill. Again a trail comes in from the right, and again ignore it. Near the top of the hill and on the left there is a narrow trail that leads to a footbridge. Take a moment to check this out. There is a babbling brook that cascades over the rocks here. Return to the main trail, it will turn slightly to the left and cross a stream. Shortly after the stream there will be another trail intersection. Stay to the left here. The trail descends downhill passing boulders and outcrops before ending at the next trail intersection. Turn right here and continue ahead to the four way intersection with the park benches. At the intersection turn left and follow the trail back to the trail head. During this hike, we encountered some chipmunks, squirrels, and a lone deer. A few suggestions and notes about this hike. Use GPS! You could easily get lost here and you will likely do some backtracking if you take a wrong turn. The map that I had used only showed the main trails. There are many other trails here that are not shown on the map. Some of the trails were blazed at intersections. These blazes are for the cross country team and are not typical “hiking blazes”. Also, it may be a good idea to tackle this hike on a weekend or holiday when the school is closed.

Trail map can be found at: Ash Swamp

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Trail and Stone Wall at Ash Swamp

Atkinson Reserve – Ledyard

  • Atkinson Family Reserve
  • Long Cove Road, Ledyard, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°24’55.63″N, 72° 2’43.81″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 30, 2022
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

Starting from the parking area near 757 Long Cove Road stay to the left and follow the trail under the power lines to the kiosk. Here you will find the trail map. Continuing into the property following the red blazed trail, you will first scramble up and over a small hill and the trail winds a bit passing a tower. You will soon come to the blue loop. for this hike turn left here. You will slowly climb a hill and come upon the first of several stone walls. At the “short cut” stay to the left, descend into a valley, cross a small stream, and then back up hill. The blue trail turns sharply to the right and flanks a stone wall. The pine grove beyond the wall is so thick that you can not see daylight through it. The trail heads north a bit passing a couple of trails to the left that lead to the Nathan Lester trail system. Continue to follow the blue loop. It then turns to the east passing the other end of the “short cut” before descending down a steep hill. The trail veers to the right in a southerly direction now winding through an area of scattered boulders and more stone walls. You will soon pass through a grove of mountain laurel before coming to the red blazed loop. For this hike turn left onto the red loop. You will pass through low lying shrubs, outcrops, and by ledges before coming to a wooden bridge crossing a stream. Continue to follow the red blazed trail as it starts a long and steady climb uphill. Note on the right at the top of the hill a boulder left by the retreating glaciers. The trail soon levels out and comes to the blue loop again. Turn left here and again at the next intersection to follow the red blazes back to the kiosk.

Trail Map: Atkinson Reserve.

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The Brook at the Southern End of the Property

Wunnashowatuckqut – North Smithfield/Blackstone

  • Wunnashowatuckqut
  • East Harkness Road, North Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead:  42° 0’24.59″N, 71°33’37.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: February 12, 2022
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Moderate due to navigation, difficult at times with some hills.

Wunnashowatuckqut… What? It is Nipmuc for “where the river splits”. The Nipmuc were present on this land where the Blackstone River and Branch River meet just south of the Blackstone Gorge. And speaking of the gorge, you will get an entirely different perspective of the gorge on this hike along the lesser known trails along its western bank. For this hike, led by members of the North Smithfield Heritage Association, we followed trails through State owned properties. Being a warm day in February, the ground was frozen and quite icy in areas. The trails do become somewhat difficult in spots where you may be required to do a near climb on some of the uphill sections. The trails may also become quite muddy in spring weather. There is also no official blaze system or trail map, however, this loop can be completed following the orange marks provided by a local. With all that being said, I would not venture out onto this property without at least GPS or a general sense of direction. The other option is to follow the North Smithfield Heritage Association on Facebook and wait until they lead another hike on this property. Also be sure to wear orange as it is State property. Nonetheless, this hike is a good one, offering quite a bit to see. Starting from the bend in the road on East Harkness Road and Martha Road by utility pole 61, follow the paper street on East Harkness Road. It looks like a driveway (the one with the power lines), as it is in a sense. Soon you will see a house to the left. Continue straight and slightly uphill to continue following the paper street. It now becomes more of a cart path as it climbs slightly uphill into the former James Harkness Farm. Along this stretch you will be behind houses to the left. There will be an occasional spur trail to the left. Ignore these as they lead to private properties. Soon you will come to a trail intersection with a trail to the right. Ignore the turn and continue straight. The trail to the right is your return trail. Ahead you will notice the first of the orange marks. The trail crests the hill and starts its descent to the river. Along the way you will soon be flanked by a stone wall to the left. We saw at least a half dozen deer here. As the trail descends it is deeply rutted in areas. Be careful of your steps here. Near the bottom of the hill the trail narrows. Keep an eye out for the orange marks. You will cross another stone wall. This is the State Line and you are now entering Blackstone, Massachusetts and still descending down the hill. The narrow trail comes to a wider path. Veer slightly right here and follow the orange marks. The trail now levels and winds a bit. At the next intersection a trail to the left leads to private property and is posted. Stay right here and you will cross another stone wall. You will soon come to a large open area with a make shift fire pit near its middle. There are several spur trails leaving this open area. Stay just to the left of the pit and follow the main trail downhill. At the next split stay to the left. Still following the orange blazes you will come to another split. To the left is posted private property. Stay to the right here and the trail follows the shore of an inlet of the Blackstone River. This is a good spot to observe birds. Also there is evidence of beaver activity here. Continuing along this trail you will come to a wider trail ahead. Turn left here and in a few steps you will be on “The Other Side” on the famed Rolling Dam at Blackstone Gorge. The perspective here is quite interesting. For as many times as I have been to Blackstone Gorge, I had never step foot on the other side. This is a good spot for a break. The rest of the hike is uphill. Continue along the main trail for a few hundred feet. Turn left onto a narrower trail, once again following the orange marks. This trail climbs slightly and along the river passing mountain laurel and schist outcrops. As it winds slightly up and down hill you will get glimpses of the river and gorge below (maybe except when leaves are on the trees). You are now back in North Smithfield, Rhode Island. The trail then turns away from the river and increasingly climbs uphill. From here on out be sure to follow the orange marks and make sure your GPS is on. Soon a trail comes in from the right. Ignore it and continue straight ahead and uphill until you come to the next intersection. Take a breather! The worse of the uphill climb is now behind you. Stay right here and look for the orange mark on the tree. The trail bends slightly to the south and you will pass some boulders on the right. Slow down and pay attention here. You are looking for a right turn onto a very narrow trail that is almost non-existent. It is however marked with the orange marks (and at the time of this hike, flagging). Be sure to follow the orange marks as it is easy to drift off the trail. Here the trail climbs again slightly uphill. It soon widens a bit as it winds westward. This trail will eventually come to the trail you entered the property on. There you will turn left and retrace your steps back to the street.

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Rolling Dam from the “Other Side”

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The dam and rapids in the gorge as seen from the trail along the river.

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Orange Marks… be sure to look for the next one!!

Woodward Forest – Norton

This is a nice property tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac is on a peninsula flanked by the Wading River and the Three Mile River. The trails are blazed with multiple colors. For this hike we had done most of the red loop before moving north along the blue blazed trail making our way to the shores of the Wading River. From here we followed the river back and made our way back to the red trail before exiting the property. The property offers vernal pools and glacial erratic as well as views of the rivers. We did come across deer during our hike.

Trail Map: Woodward Forest.

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Deer Spotted at Woodward

Goat Hill Lock – Uxbridge/Northbridge

  • Goat Hill Lock
  • Hartford Avenue East, Uxbridge, MA
  • Trailhead:  42° 5’50.94″N, 71°37’25.35″W
  • Last Time Hiked: December 21, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.4 miles
  • Moderate, significant elevation.

Goat Hill itself can get the blood flowing as some of the trail is quite steep. The trail that runs along the bottom of the hill along the river is much easier and fairly level. For this hike, I did a loop that included climbing up and over the hill making for a moderate hike. From a small parking area along the side and across the busy road, make your way across a large open lawn to the kiosk. Beyond the kiosk and a couple hundred feet into the woods look to turn left and start the climb up the hill. The trail is blazed blue and the ascent is steady. In the winter months you will have a view of the Blackstone River to the right. On the left you will start to notice boulders up upon the hill. Soon you will see an unmarked trail to the left. Ignore it and continue ahead following the blue blazed trail. The trail plateaus briefly. There are scattered boulders throughout this area. The trail the continues uphill and becomes increasingly steeper. There are a few more spur trails in this area. Some have signs such as “PK&C”, “Bone Spur”, and “Greenway”. There appears to be a significant trail system upon the hill, but they are not shown on the trail map. Explore at your own risk. For this hike continue to follow the blue blazes. The trail crests over the top of the hill and starts a steady descent flanked by an impressive stone wall on the left. Take your time a watch your footing here as the descent can be a bit difficult. At the bottom of the hill turn right and follow the blue blazes to the next intersection. Along this stretch is a seasonal babbling brook on the left for a bit. At the next intersection turn left and down a short but steep section of trail then continue ahead to a small wooden bridge. This is the Goat Hill Lock. It once was part of the 1828 Blackstone Canal. This is a good spot for a break. From here return to the last intersection and turn left. The trail is blazed blue, fairly level, and follows the foot of the hill back to the kiosk at the entrance. Along the way you will have views of the river on the left as well as Rice City Pond. To the right there will be areas of bull briar, a haven for songbirds, and a rather significant boulder. You should wear orange here as hunting is allowed.

Trail Map: Goat Hill Lock.

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Bridge at The Lock

Shaw Farm – Sutton

Shaw Farm has several fields at its northern end but the trails are in the central and southern wooded parts of the property. From the parking area stay left of the shed. Shortly ahead is another structure. Stay to the left of that building as well and then follow the edge of a large field keeping the tree line to the right. head is an opening in the tree line. Continue through the opening into another field. Again keep the tree line to the right passing the Center Trail to the right. Ahead, turn right onto the Challenge Trail. It enters the woods and descends quickly into a valley. Ahead is a stream crossing by a stone wall. This can be a bit challenging but manageable. The trail veers uphill and to the left a bit before coming to the Fallen Oak Trail. Stay left here and continue the long steady climb to the southern end of the property. You will pass through a ravine and cross a couple streams along the way. Turn left onto the Shaw Trail next. It will take you to the highest points of the property as it skirts Central Turnpike. Next turn left onto the Center Trail for a moment then turn right onto the Hunter Trail. The trail is a little narrower but is fairly level. Next turn right onto the Laurel Trail. The aptly named trail winds through a small grove of mountain laurel before coming out to a field. Turn right then left passing through the center of the field. Ahead the trail re-enters the woods. The trail to the left follows the edge of a pond then veers left to come to the backside of the barn. Passing the barn to the right brings you back to the parking area. This hike follows a perimeter route.

Trail Map: Shaw Farm.

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Stream and Stone Wall

Old Harbor – New Shoreham

  • Old Harbor Walking Tour
  • Water Street, New Shoreham, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°10’23.58″N, 71°33’27.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 16, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.3 miles
  • Fairly easy.

This walk, based on an on-line in town walk (see link below), covers quite a bit of the sights within a reasonable walking distance of the ferry landing at Old Harbor – Block Island. Starting from the ferry walk straight towards the restrooms then turn left and make your way out to Water Street as if you were heading to Ballards. Turn left onto Water Street and almost immediately across the street is the entrance of the Ocean View Trails. Follow the entrance trail slightly uphill. To the left is a narrow trail that leads done to the beach. Follow it to get some impressive beach views. Return back uphill and make your way up to the pavilion. This was the site of the Ocean View Hotel that stood here up till 1966 when it burnt to the ground. There is a narrow trail behind the pavilion that leads to a small garden then downhill and wraps around the backside and then west side of the property before reconnecting with the main entrance trail. Turn left back onto Water Street and then left onto Spring Street. Follow Spring Street uphill about a thousand feet and then turn right at the 1661 gardens. Follow the access road down to the farm. Here you will see emus and ostriches running about for a rather unique zoo experience. From here follow Spring Street back to the intersection with Water Street and turn left onto High Street and then right onto Weldons Way. There are several rental shops for mopeds and bicycles along the street. You will be approached to rent a moped!! At the end of the street turn left onto Chapel Street. You will pass Saint Andrews Church before coming to Old Town Road where you will turn right. The big white building on the left at the next intersection is the Block Island Historical Society. There is a small fee for a tour of the building. Take a left onto Ocean road and a few feet down is Poor Peoples Pub. This is an island staple and a good spot for lunch. Return back to the intersection and take a left onto Corn Neck Road. Follow it to a small park on the left called Solviken Nature Preserve. There are a few picnic benches here. Cross the street and you will find a set of stairs leading down to the beach. At the bottom of the stairs turn right and follow the beach to its end at the left of the Block Island Beach House/The Surf Restaurant. There is a set of stairs that lead back up to Water Street where you find several shops and eateries opposite of the ferry terminal. This makes for a good day trip walk while visiting the island without means of renting other modes of transportation.

Trail Map: Old Harbor Walking Tour.

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Ocean View Pavilion

Tri Town Ridgeline West – North Stonington/Preston

  • Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve West
  • Miller Road, North Stonington, CT
  • Trailhead:  41°30’46.07″N, 71°54’15.37″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 15, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.6 miles
  • Moderate, significant hills.

This hike would be the third of three planned routes to cover most of the trails at the Tri Town Ridgeline Preserve. This hike covers the western portion of the property. Starting at the parking area at the bend in Miller Road follow the red trail (known as the Axis Trail) into the property. It first is blazed only red but soon the blue blaze loop comes in from the left and joins the red trail. Continue ahead and the yellow blazed Fenway Trail will join from the left just as the blue blazes veer to the right. Continue ahead here now following the red/yellow blazes. Soon the yellow trail veers to the right. Continue ahead and follow the now only red blazed trail as it cuts through the property. You will soon leave North Stonington and enter into Preston. (For this hike you will not cross into Griswold). Ahead the yellow blazed Fenway Traill will cross the Axis Trail. Still continue ahead and you will start to get a glimpse of some of towering ridges and ledges the property is so known for. The red trail ends at the northern reaches of the blue loop trail. Here turn left and start climbing the incline to Lamberts Peak. This stretch can be a bit challenging due to the steady upward incline. Along the way to the peak you will pass beautiful stone walls and climb stone stairs. At the peak there is a bench to take a short break. The view from here is spectacular. Continuing ahead you now will mostly be declining down the hill passing small boulder fields with some rather impressive larger boulders, ledges, more stone walls, and stream crossings. The trail hugs the western edge of the property for a while before turning east and coming back out to the red blazed Axis Trail. Turn right here and follow it back to the parking area.

Trail Map: Tri Town Ridgeline West.

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Ridges and Ledges

Slocum’s River – Dartmouth

  • Slocum’s River Reserve
  • Horseneck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead:  41°33’6.97″N, 71° 0’34.00″W
  • Last Time Hiked: October 3, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.2 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

This property has a maze of unmarked trails that offer some spectacular views of the Slocum River and its wetlands. Covering most of the property will give you a hike of over 2 miles. For this hike we did the south end of the property first checking out the Amphitheater, Angelicas Overlook, and the Canoe Landing before doing the loop around a large open field which offered sweeping views. From here we toured the north via the Sam Francis Trail to Sarah’s Field to the short spur to the Grosswendt Reserve which also offers great views of the waterway and wetlands. Making our way back to the parking area we passed through the Bluebird Field. For a longer walk you could cross the road to Dartmoor Farm.

Trail Map: Slocum’s River

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Down By The River

Klutz Woodland – Glocester

  • Klutz Woodland – Sprague Farm Town Forest
  • Joe Sweet Road, Glocester, RI
  • Trailhead:  41°54’1.79″N,  71°42’15.12″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 4, 2021
  • Approximate distance hiked: 2.0 miles
  • Fairly easy with some slight elevation. Can be muddy at times.

The Klutz Woodland is a spectacular addition the sprawling Sprague Farm Town Forest. The trails here have just recently been blazed offering more miles to the already popular hiking destination. Starting from the parking area at the end of Joe Sweet Road follow the red blazed trail into the woods. You will climb up and over a small hill while flanked by mountain laurels, boulders, and a forest floor covered with thickets. Three tenths of a mile into the hike you will come to a green blazed trail. Turn right here to follow the trail through an area of lush ferns. The green trail intersects with the red trail once again. Bear right and stay on the green blazed trail. It winds downhill with a stone wall to the left. The green trail soon ends at the white blazed Sprague Trail. Turn left here and follow the stone wall. The trail then passes through it. Just after that turn left onto the pink blazed trail. This trail offers more mountain laurel and amazing stone walls before ending at the red trail once again. Turn right here and follow the red blazes as the trail zigzags a bit before coming to an outcrop. Here the (future, and still under construction) red blaze trail turns to the right. For this hike, continue straight onto the blue/yellow blazed trail. It will eventually lead out to the unblazed and undeveloped portion on Joe Sweet Road. Turn left here and follow the road back to the parking area. Keep in mind that this section can be a bit wet after heavy rains.

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Stone Wall Along The Pink Trail

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